More stars means better energy efficiency and cheaper running costs.

Fix dripping water taps as they waste water, and energy (if it is a hot tap).

There are many simple no and low cost ways you can improve your greenhouse performance and reduce the cost of your energy bills at the same time. You have the opportunity to reduce the energy used by the lighting, computers, and office equipment around you, as well as via supplementary air conditioning, kitchen equipment, and hot water.


Lighting contributes significantly to energy use at Council facilities, particularly recreation facilities where floodlights are used.  You can reduce your energy bills by reducing the amount of time your lights are left on and improving the efficiency of your lighting system.

  • Make sure lights, particularly floodlights, are turned off when not in use.  If you would like signage that prompts users and staff to turn off lights, please request from Council.
  • If you employ cleaners or security staff, ensure their contract requires that they switch lights off after their work is finished.
  • Replace old lights with more energy efficient models and make sure lights are off in rooms infrequently used.
  • Before undertaking major work, check with Council as to whether there is an upgrade is already planned.  Major retrofits can also be eligible for rebates via Energy Saving Certificates (see www.ess.nsw.gov.au ). Council's Sustainability Department can provide advice on available rebates.
  • Report sensor lights that stay on during the day, and lights that stay on at night that are not supposed to.
  • Use natural daylight rather than artificial light as often as possible and where appropriate.

Kitchen Equipment

You can reduce energy use in kitchens with by requesting simple purchasing criteria, like:

  • A high-energy rating on white goods such as fridges and dishwashers. More stars means better energy efficiency and cheaper running costs.
  • Rapid boil kettles instead of boiling water units.  Boiling water units such as ZIP boiler are on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week just to keep your water hot – that’s a lot of wasted energy.  Boiling a kettle only takes a couple of minutes and saves you money.  Alternatively, ensure the ZIP boiler has a timer device to enable out-of-hours switch off.

Hot Water

  • Turn the hot water system off when it is not needed for extended periods of time.  This will result in less hot water used.  The pressure release valve on all hot water systems should be flushed for a few seconds every 3 to 6 months to remove scale that builds up daily from seepage as the hot water expands in the tank. If this is not done, the scale can cause a constant leak from the valve.
  • Solar hot water systems are installed at a number of sites.  These use solar panels or heat pumps as the primary means of heating the water.  Whilst heat pumps can work in all weather, those with solar panels have back-up gas or electricity elements for extended cloudy weather.  Things for staff to look for include checking that the pumps turn on periodically during the day when the solar panels heat up.
  • Fix dripping water taps – they waste water and energy (if it is a hot tap).
  • Request that your next maintenance visit ensures that the hot water systems thermostat temperature is not over 65 degrees since it is required by law for it be no more than 60 degrees from the tap.

Supplementary Air Conditioning

Supplementary air conditioning units can be very energy intensive.  The key to saving energy lies in sizing, installing, maintaining, and running the system correctly.

  • Report thermostats that are placed near heat sources such as photocopiers and kettles or in sunlight or cupboards as this will cause your air conditioning to run over time.
  • Keep filters clean and report when they need replacement.
  • Check the settings for on/off times to avoid the unit running unnecessarily.  Set auto off timing to be short, at about 30 minutes.
  • In Summer set thermostats to be slightly higher than normal office temperatures, so that the system only operates when needed.
  • In Winter set thermostats to slightly less than normal office temperatures, so that the system only operates when needed.
  • Put up a sign saying that it is not worth running air conditioning for short periods, so do not turn on if not needed.
  • Request to plant trees on the western orientation of the building to provide shading and reduce solar heat gain.
  • Use natural ventilation by opening doors and windows on opposite sides of the building.
  • Open curtains on the east and north side in winter during the morning and close all curtains in the afternoon to retain heat.
  • Close curtains on windows where excessive heat is entering in summer. Curtains with reflective inserts are available to enhance solar gain reflected back through the windows, however using external shading to prevent solar gain from entering the building in the first instance is much more effective.
  • If your air conditioner fails and needs replacing, consider asking to trial a large moveable fan which require much less energy to run, coupled with appropriate external shading before replacing the air conditioner

Photovoltaic (PV) Panels

  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed at some sites - they are generally placed out of the way on roofs and are relatively maintenance free.
  • Where a site has solar panels, it is possible to reduce electricity utility costs by scheduling some activities, such as dishwashers, electric hot water heaters and washing machines to run during the day when the panels are generating electricity.



Page Last Updated: 12 Feb 2015